A SUSTAINED AND MIGHTY student strike movement in Quebec has brought down a provincial government. Running on a law-and-order platform, the defeated Premier Jean Charest and his party specifically targeted the students’ militant campaign against massive tuition hikes. Not only did the right-of-center Liberal Party lose after nine years in power, Charest lost his seat in parliament.
The winning Parti Québécois pledged to stop the tuition increase and drop the draconian anti-protest law that the Liberals passed to squash the student uprising. Disgust with this repressive law did much to broaden support in the labor movement. So did the political program of CLASSE, the students’ leading organization. CLASSE took the struggle beyond the issue of raising tuition and aimed at the entire neoliberal agenda of cuts in social services and austerity measures against the working class. It called for extending the conflict into a wider “social strike.”
THE FIGHT IS NOT OVER, but Quebec students have proven they can hang in for the long haul. Against the plans of the elite to create an army of dispossessed with no education, no jobs, and no hope, they are battling to create a future full of opportunity.